Since the start of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption there has been much speculation about an eruption of its larger neighbour, Katla. In a report published today, experts from the newly formed UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction warn that with the high frequency of eruptions of Katla, an eruption in the short term is a strong possibility.
Learning from experience, including that of other countries, is an important element of our knowledge about earthquakes and other disasters that affect major urban areas. The United States can learn from a recent report that assessed the response to the damaging earthquake that affected Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury Region in New Zealand in February 2011.
200 years ago, a series of major earthquakes struck the Mississippi River Valley along the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the Central United States. Recent events remind us that damaging earthquakes can happen at any time. With more than 40 million people living and working in the region today, a major earthquake would cause widespread damage and disruption.
In late 1811, a magnitude 7.7 earthquake shook the New Madrid Seismic Zone, stretching across Southern and Midwestern states. It was followed by two earthquakes in 1812 ranging from magnitude 7.5 to 7.7, six aftershocks ranging from magnitude 5.5 to 6.3 within the first two days and hundreds more aftershocks were felt into 1813. Two centuries later, that scenario was the basis for National Level Exercise (NLE) 2011, one of the largest emergency exercises in U.S. history and the first of its scale to simulate a natural disaster.
The recent natural disaster in Japan brought to light the fragile nature of the global supply chain. Professor Willy Shih discusses how companies should be thinking about their supply-chain strategy now.
The horrific crisis in Japan is a clear reminder to IT managers about their own business continuity systems and how well-prepared they are for such an event.
It is frightening to watch what’s going on with Japan’s nuclear plant at Fukushima. It is also worrying to watch the fear racing around the world as a result of those events, fear that in some cases is far in excess of what’s going on, or even the worst case scenarios of what might happen.
The Japanese are facing the danger of a meltdown and release of dangerous amounts of radiation into the environment.
But the world is facing the risk of getting the risk of nuclear power wrong, and raising the overall risk to public and environmental health far more in the process. It is vitally important to keep our fears in perspective as we weigh all our energy choices in a world confronted both by climate change, and by several hundred thousand premature deaths from local particulate pollution from burning fossil fuels each year.
As powerful a tool as our risk perception system is for keeping us safe in general, sometimes that instinctive/emotional system can get risk wrong, in dangerous ways. We need to watch events in Japan, and watch what we say and how we feel about those events, if we want to make the healthiest possible choices about how to keep ourselves safe.
See Beware the fear of nuclear….FEAR! by David Ropeik for Scientific American.
Just over a week after the massive earthquake hit the sprawling Texas Instruments chip plant in Tsuchiura, Japan , a gardener is reworking the Japanese garden in an inner courtyard of the office tower attached to the plant.
Satellite imagery has captured some of the devastation caused by the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that flattened buildings and killed scores of people in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on February 22, 2011.
Here’s the most direct, in fact the only, way to create guaranteed disaster-proof structures:
- Determine the purpose(s) the structure will serve.
- Identify the hazards that place it at risk.
- Don’t build it. Continue reading From Chile to US: The myth of disaster-proof buildings
Getting started with disaster recovery planning is easier said than done for many organizations. Earthquake emergency response has nuances that make it different than IT DR planning for other types of disasters.